My Early 2011 (yes, early 2011) MacBook Pro 15 Desktop

yeah, I know what you are thinking. 2011? Really? how do you use a machine that old? well, It’s far from a stock Pro 15 (highest specced CPU and display, upgraded RAM, and SSD), and CPU-wise things have not changed that much since then, and as a broke college student with expensive tastes and a proclivity for tinkering, an older MacBook was a good option for me. The biggest areas where I suffer with the older machine are battery life and screen resolution. I do a few things to help mitigate these weaknesses.

Battery Life:
When it comes to battery life, My aging machine will never be as good as the new stuff. It just won’t. To help prolong my time without being tethered to a wall, I do a few things.

  1. I monitor my GPU status using a little app called gfxCarStatus. This little program sits in my menu bar and tells me if I’m using my integrated graphics or if my discrete GPU is pushing the pixels. The using only the discrete GPU cuts my battery life firmly in half.

  2. In addition to monitoring GPU status, I also monitor CPU status with Activity Monitor. If things seem out of whack, I can know about it. I do have MenuMeters installed as well, but I like the detailed information Activity Monitor gives me, and MenuMeters gets resource intensive if I ask it to do too much.

  3. The last thing I do to conserve power is to kill any apps that I’m not using. As obvious as this is, it makes a huge difference in helping me avoid trips to the wall every couple hours.

Screen Resolution

There obviously isn’t much that I can do about the fact that my dinosaur has an extremely low-res screen compared to modern-day MacBooks, but it does help that I have the rare 1680x1050 screen that was an option for these machines. It makes it tolerable to use on a daily basis as long as I don’t go looking at newer machines.

and now, finally for my desktop. Thanks for reading. (exploding chalk wallpapers are awesome. :sunglasses:)



I have a 2011, 2015 and 2016 MacBook pros all for various reasons that we will skip over, hands down my favourite machine is the 2011, the upspeced ones were amazing, the keyboard is better then both of my other machines, even to this day it’s just as fast as some mid range laptops. If all apple had done over the last 7 years was spec bump that machine I would be a very happy customer.

The build on those things was also solid too, at 2.2KG of solid aluminium, it felt like a laptop you could bludgeon someone with, so I never feel like I have to worry about damaging the thing when I travel

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My late 2011 has been great. I seem to have avoided the GPU problem so lucky on that. The SSD was the best upgrade I made to it. Had to replace the battery last year because it was swelling and affecting the trackpad. I only use it untethered occasionally so long battery life isn’t critical for me. At home I have it paired to a Thunderbolt Display for great screen real estate.

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I agree! New Apple keyboards annoy the crap out of me.